New Mexico: Governor to Convene Special Legislative Session to Advance Adult-Use Marijuana Legalization

Members of the New Mexico state House and Senate failed to approve House Bill 12 to legalize and regulate the adult-use marijuana market prior to Saturday’s adjournment of the 2021 legislative session. However, lawmakers are expected to take up the issue again in a matter of days.

Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has called for a special session during which time lawmakers will reconvene to address the issue. The session may start as soon as March 31.

The Governor’s office issued a press release stating: “Legalized adult-use cannabis is one of the best moves we can make in our work to build a bona fide 21st century economy in New Mexico. … But rushing through amendments in the final hours of a session, when there’s a mountain of other very important work to be done, is not the right way to do something of this magnitude. No doubt the remote nature of this session, with public health safeguards in place, has slowed some items, though I applaud the Legislature and staff for their incredible perseverance and productivity in the face of challenging circumstances. In short, we are very close. And we will finish the job. I believe legalization will be one of the largest job-creation programs in state history, driving entrepreneurial opportunities statewide for decades to come. I look forward to continuing to work with lawmakers to get the job done and done right.”

“Lawmakers, for the moment, have once again failed to deliver common sense marijuana policy reform for the people of New Mexico, an overwhelming majority of whom support legalizing cannabis for adults.” said NORML State Policies Manager Carly Wolf. “In the interim, thousands of their constituents, disproportionately their constituents of color, will continue to be saddled with criminal records and the lifelong penalties and stigma associated with it.”

House Bill 12 sought to allow adults to legally purchase up to two ounces of marijuana and 16 grams of cannabis extract from licensed retailers, and also would have permitted the home-cultivation of up to six mature plants for one’s own personal use. Under this measure, those convicted of offenses involving the possession of up to two ounces of marijuana possession would have been eligible for automatic expungement, and those currently incarcerated for these offenses would have been eligible for either a dismissal or a revision of their sentence.